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Planning to hire a content marketing agency to manage your company’s content? Whether you need landing pages, blog posts, infographics or other types of content, it’s important to find the right fit.

Do you think all content marketing agencies are the same? We’d like to tell you different—every content agency develops and executes on campaigns differently. Each agency also has a unique team that brings a diverse mix of knowledge, skills, and creativity to the table.

There are two things to consider when searching for the “best fit” agency—the nature of your business and the kind of content an agency can produce. Overlooking these runs the risk of failing to add value to your brand.

Before we share tips for selecting the right content marketing agency, let’s first discuss what the role of content marketing agencies should be.

What Does a Content Marketing Agency Do

The name itself is self-explanatory – “an agency that creates content”. However, its goal isn’t just limited to content creation. It should, through its expertise, help your business to leverage the content to establish your online presence.

Content pieces (i.e. blog articles, videos, landing pages, social media posts, etc.) may help spread a positive brand image across the Internet for your business.

A content marketing agency should also work on marketing initiatives for the created content to help your business achieve the following:

  • Generate traffic
  • Attract new leads
  • Keep customers engaged
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Track and monitor progress
  • Update the content strategy

So now that you’re aware of the role of a content marketing agency, let’s tackle something more interesting. Below are four tips on finding a content marketing firm that best matches your specific needs.

How to Choose a Content Marketing Agency

1. Examine Their Strategy

Content marketing needs to be planned and strategized. With an effective strategic direction in place, your business will gain more clicks, follows, and other profitable customer actions

According to CMI, 72% of B2B marketers said that content marketing strategy is a critical factor in content marketing success. The respondents with a documented strategy report more successful campaigns than those with a verbal strategy only, or no strategy at all.

Source: CMI

When looking for an agency, ensure that they can develop a specific strategy that meets your business’ needs and goals. During a pitch, you can request for a general content strategy for your industry and analyse their response.

Examine the proposed content marketing strategy and check if it addresses the following questions:

Who are your target customers and what content types best suit them?

The strategy should take a stab at defining your target audience, customer touchpoints and the content types needed to reach them.

What goals can you achieve using content marketing?

An agency should identify the goals that your business can attain through their content marketing strategy. Typical goals include increased website traffic, more leads, greater social media engagement, and so on.

How content marketing-related processes are streamlined?

The content marketing pitch should discuss who will be producing and managing your content. It should also present the tools needed and give an overview of the workflow and processes if you were to work together.

See: 3 Ways to Self-Learn Content Marketing  

2. Assess Their Team 

Great things in business are never done by a person; they’re done by a team of people. This popular Steve Jobs quote may come in handy when doing an agency search.

You should spend some time chatting with the agency’s team members to check whether there’s rapport. Doing this will also let you know if they have the needed expertise to achieve your goals.

For example, if you want to increase website traffic via search engines, social media and email marketing, the content marketing agency should have staff who specialise in those platforms with proven past results.

You can’t expect a content writer to develop SEO-optimized content if he or she lacks knowledge about key SEO requirements. That’s like asking a pastry chef to prepare the main course in a restaurant—it’s possible but the results aren’t guaranteed.

Besides focusing on achieving your goals, it’s also nice to work with professionals who can market your content without making a cultural faux pas.

Remember the Pepsi advertisement that featured Kendall Jenner? Pepsi wanted to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Unfortunately, many people were offended by the video and viewed the brand frivolous because of how they painted protests in today’s political climate.

Your content marketing agency should anticipate any sort of misinterpretation during the ideation process.

The Pepsi commercial mishap also proves the need for a content team with different opinions, cultures, and beliefs. The more diverse a team is, the greater the chance to spot probable misconceptions and complete tasks efficiently.

content-marketingSouce: CoSchedule

3. Measure Results 

Without proper tracking, it’s hard to determine whether your content marketing efforts are working. You would not be able to analyse whether your different content supports your overall marketing and business goals.

This is where you should consider the ability of content marketing agencies to measure, interpret and analyse your content performance. A good content marketing agency should have analysts and the right tools on hand to perform such activities.

During your assessment, ask how they would measure your content performance and work towards aligning with and achieving your goals. They should be able to provide you with an effective measurement plan with metrics that help gauge your goals.

This chart from CMI’s Vice President of Marketing, Cathy McPhillips, can serve as your reference:

Source: CMI

Typically, content marketing agencies utilise measurement tools like Google Analytics to track, analyse, and report on performance. Examples of such reports are Site Content reports. This report lets you look at your website’s traffic and further segment it to determine which source the traffic came from.

Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages report

4. Know Who You Are Working With 

It’s important to know who you will be working with before entering into any new business relationship. Evaluate first the agency’s reputation and the work they do to ensure a fruitful partnership.

Ideally, it should be free of ethical or legal problems, have relevant industry experience, and most importantly—have a roster of happy and satisfied clients.

It also helps to look at their website. As a content marketing expert, their website should be filled with timely, helpful and excellent content. They should practice what they preach and use content marketing to market their own agency’s services.

While browsing through their website, check for past clients vouching for their work. Positive client testimonials are proof that the agency and/or their services offer great value. If they don’t have any public testimonials, ask them if they can provide you with a pitch deck consisting of their present and past clients.

Lastly, have a conversation with them. An in-person or virtual video meeting will make it easier for you to gauge their transparency and confidence. Ask them questions such as “Who will handle the campaigns?”, “How often would the status meetings be held?” and so on.

Content marketing experts should be able to respond to your queries and enlighten you on their work procedures. They should brief you about how they research and plan out content, produce the content pieces, and monitor or analyse the performance.

Summing It Up 

Content marketing isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a tried and tested approach that can drive profitable customer actions. So if you want to drive content marketing success, tie-up with a content marketing agency that understands your needs and goals.

Whether it’s to drive more website traffic, capture the audience’s attention, increase brand engagement, or improve brand recall, 2Stallions can help you out. We will run an analysis of your website and develop a plan based on your existing analytics data and your desired outcomes.

Excited to get started? Request a quote today and be sure to tick on content marketing under the services of interest field.

The Internet is an inexpensive way to spread the word if your company can do it effectively. Search engines, video streaming sites, and social networks have become the new television. An SEO agency or specialist can provide plenty of affordable solutions, but who should you put your money on if you’re about to undertake a new campaign?

Digital marketing firms can be completely focused on SEO.  Most agencies offer an “all-around” solution to all your web needs including social media promotion, content production, local-oriented SEO, and other factors that can help you rank your website.

Another is the independent SEO specialist, who is considerably reliable based on their case studies, previous projects, and testimonials from previous clients. These individuals are often active in business forums, helping and providing informative, actionable solutions for businesses.

A business can spend an average of $75 – $200 an hour using SEO firms, according to Moz’s SEO pricing costs survey of 600 and more agencies. The data also indicates that the service prices vary depending on which country the company is situated. Moz even shared its insight that an SEO agency working on a project basis with a client costs about $1,000 – $7,500, amounts usually set as budgets with defined expectations between the firm and the client.

Moz’s data also suggests another thing: Some SEO companies earning these amounts usually have 1-5 employees; about 52.2% of their respondents have a 1:1 employee-client ratio. If you will have a singular SEO specialist, then you can deduce that it can be affordable to use an independent SEO specialist instead.

If you get what you pay for out of an SEO project, you can consider it as money well spent. To ensure you do, the service must have done you a favor when it comes to the following areas:

Resource Management: An SEO agency or specialist’s ability to use affordable but efficient sources to meet the deadlines often lowers their costs (and makes them reputable if they have previous case studies). They guarantee there are no overhead costs even after the project and they account for all receipts regarding any software, tool, or other resources they used.

Frees up Your Time for Priorities: Any business owner will hire a specialist or agency because industry-dedicated and studious professionals allow them to free up their time to focus on business growth and other business essentials.

Accountability on Results: Speaking of outcomes, the SEO agency or specialist, having not met the deadline’s expectations, must hold itself accountable for extending their helpfulness towards a feasible resolution of the particular aspect with their clients. They can offer further revisions depending on the initial agreement before using their services.

Point by Point Comparison

Cost-Efficiency

Most SEO specialists, given their years of experience in the field, have all resources in place ready to process your issues and manifest the expectations you develop with them. These professionals work with your business intimately and handle any other issues that crop up personally. If you have a minor problem that limits the performance of your SEO campaigns, you can hire a specialist that works by the hour and spend less (which is excellent resource management on your part).

Agencies are often firms created by pals who have worked at one point as independent specialists, which is often true for many digital marketing firms. Given their collective experience in the field, they have a better variety of tools that allow them to meet your goals. Most companies also give you a budget estimate that they will strictly follow, making it unlikely to have overheads post-campaign implementation. Creative Cali believes the right company will never have hidden fees and will care deeply for clients, too.

Positive Contributions to Business Growth

Specialists handle each client individually and use a variety of solutions based on their knowledge and professional interpretations derived from their analytic tools. Given they work individually, they have a complete view of the entire campaign’s details from keyword research to view-through rates of your social network or YouTube videos. They can let you focus on growing your business while they handle your SEO needs, but they can introduce overhead costs in some occasions especially if they outsource certain duties to other SEO specialists in certain fields to meet your deadlines.

SEO agencies work with your budget and have a selection of specialists that excel in certain SEO fields. Both senior and junior teams work together through structured processes, which make their analytic interpretations produced fast and accurate. The immediate presentation of data makes it faster to scale your campaigns because you can make an informed decision with the presented data. However, their contributions depend on the availability of their clients and the budgets you set; most firms will divert their attention on large-budget projects to meet deadlines.

Accountability on Results

Specialists work on a timetable and monitor campaign’s performance consistently. They can offer a heavily discounted monthly rate for this service because the maintenance of the SEO’s performance is the only goal. However, specialists on a project-based fee can provide one or two months of free maintenance to their clients.

An SEO agency can offer revision services after each project depending on the service packages they provide. In general, high-budget projects often have unlimited revisions.

Verdict

And the winner is…
Both service types.

Both SEO specialists and agencies can be used on a situational basis. If you have a big project that needs a wide-scale implementation within a short timeframe, you will want a team to focus on the task and only paying once regardless of costs makes agencies a great and profitable solution. If you have a small project that needs a quick solution at a fixed price, specialists can be right up your alley.

Wrap Up

Any SEO agency or specialist you hire must meet these three variables to ensure you get your time and money’s worth when using their services. Small and medium-sized business thrive on a shoestring budget and every penny counts. Digital marketing is affordable, but it can still be costly if you invest in the wrong party.

Make sure to note the concept of the Iron Triangle before making any decision to hire. If you want it done fast and good, then you will have to pay a premium in exchange. Want something quick and affordable? Then you compromise the product’s quality. If you want something affordable but with great quality, then you will have to wait for longer. You can also check out 2Stallion’s SEO services page for more details.

Google’s core business is continuously improving its algorithms to predict and rank the most relevant organic search results to show to you. Today, it has grown to a mega-sized corporation that includes YouTube, which it paid $1.4 billion for in 2006.

As of April 2017, YouTube is the second most popular site in the world according to rankings released by Alexa Internet, a web traffic analysis company. Over the years, Google has brought the same approach to ranking videos on YouTube, with marketers increasingly using it as a business promotion tool. So, what’s in it for you as a business? At its simplest – the more views your video gets, the higher you rank on YouTube. However, those views can translate into the following benefits for your business:

  • Appearing not just on YouTube, but also Google search results
  • Higher traffic to your website or online store
  • Greater brand awareness amongst your audience
  • Increased trust in your brand
  • Higher sales
  • A wider reach for your brand

In addition to that, Cisco predicts that the by 2030, 70% of the Internet will consist of videos and 30% will be a mix of other things. Psychologically speaking, most people would prefer to watch a video rather than read a lengthy article about a certain topic. Hence using video will improve readability. But, there is a limit. You should stick to a length of 3-10 minutes per video to improve retention rate. As you can see from the Wistia graph, engagement drops off badly from the get-go for videos longer than 10 minutes.

Video also plays a huge part in the buying process. Most people look at product reviews before making a purchasing decision. In fact, Google says 68% of YouTube users watched YouTube to help make a purchase decision. What’s better than a YouTube video to show products in-action rather than leaving it up to the imagination of the reader?

Steps To Rank Your YouTube Videos Higher

If you’re convinced to take YouTube videos seriously as a driver for your business, then read on to learn about how you can dominate Google through the use of YouTube videos.

Step #1 Create the video

Creating a video is the most obvious step when it comes to ranking your YouTube video but it also presents the highest barrier to entry. The longer the video, the more expensive it will be. A minimum charge of US$250 is standard for a 90-second explainer video amongst freelancers, with the usual trade-offs of quality versus price.

You can also try creating your own videos if quality is not a major concern and you have time on your hands. There are apps such as Powtoon that help you to create your own professional looking videos. Just remember to make it short and sweet.

Step #2 Create a YouTube channel

Using your Gmail account, you can create a YouTube channel for your company. Be sure to have your brand name within the name of the channel.

Step #3 Upload Your Video

When uploading, make sure you fill in a description and add appropriate tags. I recommend you write around 200+ words for the description and add at least 10 tags that consist of targeted keywords and related keywords.

Step #4 Optimize the Video

You can further optimize the video by changing the “location,” “language,” and “upload date” from the advanced settings page.

Here’s an Example

Let’s assume you own a powerlifting gym in Hong Kong called Strong Culture Gym, and you want to promote it online. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to use YouTube videos.

Before you start investing in videos though, find out which keywords you should target. The best tool to use for this is the free Google Keyword Planner. You can find out more about using it here.

Below is the step-by-step process on how I ranked Strong Culture Gym:

  • First, I researched keywords for gyms and decided to go with “best powerlifting gym in hongkong” as it is specific and likely to provide the best ROIs from viewers despite lower search volume
  • Next, I created a 3-5 minute video about powerlifting
  • Then, I created a YouTube channel named “StrongCulture Gym” – using the brand of my gym
  • Finally, I optimized the video on YouTube
  • I added several appropriate keywords about the gym, together with related keywords, to the description and tags
  • You should also add annotations to your video to create clickable links directly on the video but since that requires having a website, which this hypothetical gym does not, I decided to make do with a phone number in the description to allow viewers to contact the company

And voila! Upon publishing, I see a near instant result directly on Google HK search results

Not all examples may yield instant results, especially for very high competition keywords. And sometimes, after an initial surge, the result may also disappear from the 1st page if it doesn’t generate sufficient engagement.

However, for many businesses, YouTube still presents a massive opportunity to generate awareness. Google’s algorithm tries to show structured snippet results on the 1st page search results, and videos are a great type of those that deliver better click through rates (CTRs) for Google.

Quick FAQ To Dominate On Google With Videos

We’re used to minds racing when we explain the potential of YouTube to businesses we work with, followed by some quick fire questions. We decided to save you and ourselves some back and forth by answering some of the most common questions asked to dominate Google using YouTube videos.

  1. Will this method always work?
  • No, it depends a lot on your keyword research and video optimization. The key is to find niche keywords that get you the targeted traffic. Don’t just aim for search volume.
  1. Will my videos also give me instant results like your example above?
  • Yes and no. If you try for very high search volume keywords that convert, you will have a harder time ranking those keywords. Having said that, not many companies are using this technique yet – so you can use this to get a jump on them. You can maximize exposure with a well-thought out content strategy and uploading videos regularly that add value while targeting different keywords.
  1. Will it bring my company more sales/leads?
  1. Will my video stay on the 1st page forever once it is there?
  • We both know the answer to that. The 1st page of Google search results is the most volatile, and it requires a sustained effort to keep your videos there – similar to SEO for your website.

While we hope that our short primer on how to dominate Google through video provides most of you with food for thought, and spurs action in some, we cannot stress enough that optimizing videos to rank on Google can be time-consuming so don’t get discouraged.

If your business is looking for such services or advice, check out our SEO service page. You can also leave any questions, concerns, and comments below.

No matter how companies do it, advertising remains one of the most important aspects of a business. However, advertising has evolved so much over the past decades that it has become nearly impossible for businesses to keep up. From simple flyers to giant billboards to taking your ads into the online realm, advertising continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Advertising boomed during the 19th century and the most common mediums used were newspapers ads. However, it was in the mid-1800s where the idea of the billboard was born. Billboards and other out of home advertising (OOH) became the go-to choice when it came to advertising. It helped people pick out which soda they wanted and even convinced men to sign up for wars.

However, the success of the Internet opened new frontiers for advertising. The sheer online audience was too juicy for companies to ignore. Google and Social Media like Facebook, Linked In, and Instagram made sure that people would devote a huge chunk of their time online. As a result, the Internet also became a place of commerce and along with it came advertising. Today, companies spend over $191.85 Billion in digital advertising.

While the Internet is fast becoming the choice of companies for advertising their wares, OOH advertising still remains a popular and effective medium. As these two types of advertising medium fight for supremacy, companies are left with the gargantuan task of finding out which is better between digital advertising and OOH advertising.

Before going any further, let us first define the two terms in a much detailed manner.

What is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is when companies use the internet to showcase promotional materials to consumers. Common tools used in digital advertising are e-mail, social media sites, search engine ads, and online banner ads.

However, since the Internet is a relatively young invention, digital advertising is a continuously evolving product. Today, companies are already dabbling on the use of chatbots and virtual reality for their advertising needs.

See:  Digital Trends To Disrupt The Consumer Goods Landscape In Asia

What is Out of Home Advertising (OOH)

OOH is defined as any advertising material shown outdoors that promotes a business. Common tools and spots used for OOH are billboards, benches, vehicles, and walls. OOH also includes newer advertising tactics like flash mobs and digital billboards.

Now that we have a clearer view regarding this two types of advertising, it is now time to learn more about when you should use OOH and Digital advertising. Which one should you use?

Is OOH right for me?

While most companies are quickly transitioning from traditional to digital advertising, it might be wise to step on the brakes and reassess your strategy. According to Ad Age, OOH advertising is the only form of traditional media to get a bump in terms of sales. In 2015, outdoor advertising grew from $7 Billion to $7.3 Billion.

And there is good reason for companies to still patronise OOH. While it is true that this type of advertising has been overshadowed by the digital kind, there is still some merit that OOH can give to businesses. Outdoor advertising still has a huge audience – Bus bench advertising in cities like Los Angeles, for instance, can still command an audience of 35000 to 50000 people per day.

The reason for this is because OOH has evolved with newer technologies. The spike of digital billboards, as well as creative advertisements still makes OOH relevant to this day. A good example of the evolution of OOH is an ad campaign created by online video streaming giant, Netflix. When the company launched in France, they placed digital screens on outdoor boards that showcased GIFs of their original shows. The clever bit is that these GIFs reacted to the current events of France. So when France was eliminated in the World Cup, the billboards showed a Martin Freeman looking upset with an accompanying headline that tells the viewer to take their mind off the bad news by watching Netflix shows. Check out the video below:

Outfront media has created case studies regarding the effectivity of outdoor ads. One of their campaigns was to help their client, BAI, a sparkling beverage brand, reach more audiences. With attractive billboards, they were able to increase awareness by 19% across three markets and the people who tried their product increased by 8%.

However, there are certain rules to be followed when it comes to making an effective OOH campaigns. According to Hangline, here are the 10 commandments of outdoor advertising.

Why you should join the Digital Advertising wave

While you should not completely whitewash the worth of OOH, you also cannot deny that digital advertising is the way of the future. While a lot of companies still invest in OOH advertising, that segment of the industry is losing ground. According to E-marketer, OOH will account for over 4% of total media spending in 2015. That percentage will continue to drop by 0.1 points each year. Here’s a graph on where marketers in China are spending their budget on:

According to a study conducted by Ad Age, in 2015, 80% of companies will increase their digital advertising in the next 12 to 18 months. This is because most companies nowadays are already reaping the benefits of promoting themselves online. Digital advertising is highly effective when it comes to driving sales, according to a report from Nielsen, Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands who utilized online campaigns experienced three times in incremental sales for every dollar that they spent inondvertising. The study also solidifies that there is a healthy relationship between online advertising and offline sales.

More than just Advertising

Digital advertisements are also the best form of media to drive “word of mouth” marketing (besides actual conversation with people). A lot of personal engagement happens online and the various Internet tools speed this up to another level. Social sharing has been at the forefront of this phenomena and advertisers have utilized this to their advantage. According to Upward Labs, a highly recommended share can increase a value of a product by an average  8.8%.

Digital Advertising is also more efficient when it comes to targeting the right audience. According to Marketing Land, digital advertising is seen as five times more effective than direct mail in terms of cost-per-conversion.

Digital is also becoming the media of choice among people. In 2013, digital media has already surpassed TV in terms of time spent usage. The lead is expected to be even wider now and will continue to become even bigger as the years go on. In terms of wider audience, nothing beats digital advertising at the rate it is going. The graph below shows that digital media has overtaken TV in China.

See: How Much Of The Company’s Revenue Should Be Invested In Marketing?

Parting Words

Digital advertising is the safe bet when it comes to where you should start investing your promotional budget. The average adult spends about an hour a day surfing the internet. The same group also spends nearly the same amount on their mobile phones. Advertising’s biggest audience have surely gone online.

However, it would be a big mistake to ignore OOH advertising completely. If done well, OOH advertising could still be effective depending on the needs of your business. People still spend 70% of their times outdoors and there are still some advertising opportunities that you should not miss there. So it would highly depend on the needs of your business. OOH advertising is still effective to those seeking long-term brand awareness and targeted results (i.e. car owners for billboards). If you have any stories or experiences regarding our topic today, please feel free to write them down in the space below.

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